Your skin is alive; it breathes, grows and changes throughout your monthly cycle. It reflects and reacts to what you eat and drink, your exposure to the elements, how you sleep, the stress you're under and your general health. So, to achieve optimum skin health, it's crucial to understand how your skin works.
Your skin is your largest organ and has several essential roles in maintaining your health:
Your skin comprises of three main layers:
This outermost protective barrier layer is continually regenerating. It contains four cell types:
This inner layer sits below the epidermis and contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, sweat and sebaceous glands, as well as a supportive tissue made up of:
This cushioning layer lies under the dermis and contains connective tissue and fat cells that insulate and protect your internal organs.
The skin cycle
Skin cells move up the layers and shed daily. This exfoliation process takes about 28 days in young, healthy skin but slows down with age, causing the skin to look dull, dry and show signs of ageing. This cycle's speed is also affected by hormones, diet, sun exposure, exercise, and lifestyle such as smoking.
Why exfoliation is vital
Exfoliation should be a regular part of your skincare routine as it gives an instant improvement to skin appearance. Removing the dull, dry layer of upper skin cells allows newer, fresher skin to be visible on the surface. It makes the skin's texture look better, improves uneven skin tone and spots, and allows for better penetration of your skincare products.
A build-up of dead cells increases the chance of ingrown hairs as it makes it harder for the hair to grow out of the hair follicle properly, causing it to curl back on itself and become ingrown.
Tip: When trying new skincare products, allow at least a month to work and deliver results, to let a complete skin cycle occur.
Our skin reflects our health, well-being, and age, so hopefully, understanding your skin's complex life will enable you to ensure your skincare routine and product choices work with the skin cycle and make a difference.